The Next Generation Radio Program (NGRP) continues to gain momentum as the planned replacement of the regional radio network prepares for a scheduled rollout in the first quarter of 2017. An integral part of the transition to the new network is the acquisition of radios that are compatible with the new system. The NGRP team is currently working on agreements for the provision of radio subscriber equipment, following a Request for Proposal issued in January. It is anticipated this process will be complete later in the summer.
Because the radio system is designed using next generation technology known as Project 25 (P25), it means a variety of radios from different vendors can be used. This provides police, fire and ambulance agencies with the opportunity to choose from a range of approved products to meet their specific requirements—an advantage not possible with the current radio system.
“The priority for the remainder of 2016 will be to ensure the radio sites are fully implemented and the system performs in a manner that meets the standards our public safety partners expect and deserve.”
Steve Mountford, Executive Director
“There is a tremendous benefit in having agencies choose radio equipment that uniquely suits their needs,” explained Richmond Fire Chief John McGowan, chair of the radio user working group (composed of senior representatives from police, fire and ambulance services), that works closely with E-Comm in overseeing the radio replacement project. “What this does is allow us to match individual department services with particular radio features, meaning first responders are getting the best tools to do their jobs, to help serve and protect our communities.”
Another initiative underway related to the NGRP is the development of radio sites as part of the new network’s 44-site design. Over the past several months E-Comm technicians have been focused on site installation work including adding or replacing antennas and installing P25 equipment. Development is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year, with 19 new sites being incorporated into the existing radio system to provide the best possible coverage footprint and in-building penetration.
“Radio site development is one of the most important elements of the NGRP,” explained Steve Mountford, E-Comm’s Executive Director of Wireless Transformation. “The priority for the remainder of 2016 will be to ensure the radio sites are fully implemented and the system performs in a manner that meets the standards our public safety partners expect and deserve. This phase of the project involves a considerable amount of work from the NGRP team, which is committed to ensuring targets are met and the project remains on track.”